Families Gather at the Desiderio Community Stone Soup Dinner
The Second Annual Stone Soup Dinner Hosted by Desiderio Homeowners, Macha and Melissa
This Thanksgiving, Desiderio homeowners, Macha and Melissa, gathered all nine families to host the second annual Stone Soup Dinner on the front lawns of their San Gabriel Valley Habitat homes.
The event was inspired by the children’s book, Stone Soup, written by Marcia Brown. The story of Stone Soup is a popular European folktale where three hungry soldiers seek food and shelter from a small village. The people of the village are experiencing hard times and they were afraid to share anything from their cupboards.
Upon discovering that they weren’t going to be offered any food or shelter, the soldiers declared they will be making “stone soup.” The soldiers ask if anyone has a pot to cook it in and slowly the villagers muster up the courage to share a pot, water, and fire to heat it. The soldiers recruit everyone to add stones to the pot and little by little the stones were added. Eventually the people begin to run to their cupboards to add other ingredients they had such as salt, pepper, carrots, cabbage, beef, and more. What had started out as a merely stones had transformed into a “rich person’s soup.”
“When each member of our community contributes to the making of this soup, it becomes a tangible way to celebrate our differences and the struggles and joys that unify us…together at one table, from one pot, one spoonful at a time,” said Melissa.
This story inspired Macha and Melissa to create the Desiderio community’s Stone Soup Dinner. For the last couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, the families of the Desiderio community dropped off various ingredients on Macha and Melissa’s doorstep.
At the end of the week, it was all thrown together to make a unique and delicious pot of soup with stones included!
The soup included potatoes, pearl onions, carrots, celery, chicken, garlic, and miso – all unique ingredients the nine families contributed to making their very own “Stone Soup!”
“The soup is a tradition that has so many layers of meaning. It came about as a way to stay connected during the height of the pandemic. It’s a reminder that we are not alone, that we don’t need to fear scarcity, and that our uniquely diverse community can create something truly remarkable when we realize the potential in every small act,” said Macha.
The Desiderio homeowners take on Stone Soup illustrates how Habitat ties families together to create a community. You can help create more memories like Stone Soup Dinner for San Gabriel Valley families. Join our Expanding the American Dream campaign (Three Years. 100 families. Unlimited Dreams.)
How Housing Affects Educational Outcomes
Academic Success Begins At Home
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a supportive and stable home can attribute to the educational success of children. When families spend less on housing, they can invest in themselves. This includes investing in higher education. Long-term career growth, social mobility and finances can help lift the entire family into prosperity.
No matter one’s age, having a decent place to call home – a place to study and think – a place to feel secure – can lead to a more successful future.
Low Quality and Unaffordable Housing Affects Children and Adults
Frequent or unplanned moves because of unsafe situations, rising housing costs, or other difficulties negatively impact school performance. In some cases, families are forced to move to undesirable areas with low-performing schools. These situations create cycles of instability that easily permeate into adulthood.
For children, moves can interfere with the development of personal relationships, resulting in the lack of a support system in school. As friends are vital to school-age children’s healthy development, children who lack friends can suffer from emotional and mental difficulties. Establishing roots in the community allows children to develop friendships, ultimately increasing their empathy and compassion.
Parents paying too high a percentage of their income for housing often find themselves making tough choices. The decision between making rent, paying for education, or having safe transportation can cause stress, depression, and hopelessness. With affordable housing, adults spend less time worrying about finances and more time invested in their children’s education as well as their own.
In a 2016 report “Impacts of Habitat for Humanity Homeownership,” researchers from the Wilder Foundation determined that almost two-thirds of Habitat homeowners in Minnesota say they feel more confident about their ability to fund their kids’ college education. Having a stable place to call home provides the entire family with a secure environment to grow and excel in life.
A Hardworking Family Gets the Space They Need to Thrive
Azat and her children (Kristina pictured) once lived in an overcrowded apartment sleeping cramped on one couch. After moving into their Habitat home in Glendale, Kristina and Arthur now have the rest and personal space they need to focus on school.
“Everybody is happy, and I feel more secure. The kids feel free-er to focus and learn. Their grades have improved!”
Today, the family is thriving in their safe and stable home. Thanks to the extra space, they can stay in touch with their Armenian roots – hosting family members and sharing dishes with their community of friends. This is all thanks to San Gabriel Valley Habitat supporters and donors, just like you!
How You Can Help
- Advocate for affordable housing with SGV Habitat and Habitat for Humanity International
- Support the #CostOfHome Campaign
- Strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws, including the Fair Housing Act and other state and local regulations prohibiting racial discrimination in housing markets
- Donate to show your support to fix the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond
- Sign up for SGV Habitat’s e-newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of sgvhabitat.org
- Share this article and educate others on the importance of affordable housing
Your Support Goes a Long Way During this Crisis
Now, more than ever, having a quality and affordable home in which to shelter can make or break a family’s ability to overcome this pandemic.
Your gift goes a long way – especially during and after the COVID-19 crisis:
It has provided emergency food to families in need
- Our ReStore trucks have provided emergency food for 300 families to date though partnerships with other nonprofits including La Casa de San Gabriel Community Center
It creates and maintains safe, healthy housing
- We are expanding our critical home repair program with safety measures in place to keep everyone healthy
- Currently processing over 200 homeownership and home repair applications to help families access or maintain safe, quality and affordable housing
- Creating 50 new homeownership opportunities in the next 36 months across the San Gabriel Valley, including Alhambra, Altadena, Azusa, Baldwin Park, El Monte, Monterey Park, and Pasadena
It helps open and run our new ReStore in Duarte
- At the new Duarte ReStore, 100% of the store’s revenue will help speed the building and repair of homes right here in the San Gabriel Valley region
Thanks to your generosity, Habitat homeowners like Alejandra have been able to shelter at home and weather the biggest pandemic in our country’s recent history.
“Even during the COVID-19 crisis, our home gives us hope!” Said Alejandra. “We feel secure while sheltering in place.”
Want to speak to someone about making a donation?
Have questions, comments, or ideas about helping our neighbors respond to and recover from this crisis?
Contact Paul: E-mail or call (626) 340-2280
Letter from Mark – Summer 2020
Dear Habitat Family,
Carlos and Diana love being parents. Their two children—Isabella and Nicholas—have grown up faster than they ever imagined! Several years ago, Carlos and Diana gave up their small apartment’s only bedroom and moved their bed into the living room. This allowed their children to have more privacy but made it increasingly difficult for Carlos, who slept during daytime hours, to accommodate a graveyard work shift.
Fatigue, sleeplessness, and overcrowding are things Carlos knew too well until 2019 when Carlos and Diana became Habitat homeowners.
This summer and every summer to come, Carlos, Diana, and their children will enjoy their three-bedroom home! Gone are the days of fatigue, sleeplessness, and overcrowding for Carlos and his family. Not only do Carlos, Diana, Isabella, and Nicholas all have the room they need to thrive, but owning their own home gives them the safety and security needed to have peace of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we navigate through this evolving health crisis, our resources have been strained, creating even more barriers for families, like Carlos and Diana’s, in our community who are in desperate need of affordable housing. This is a time for the community to come together and for neighbors to help neighbors. Building better homes and brighter futures starts with you!
We’ve got until June 30 to raise $77,000 so we can continue to help families all summer long! Your generosity today can help us continue to address the housing crisis during and after COVID-19. With your support, we can give families like Carlos and Diana’s the opportunity to build and buy their very own homes. Access to decent and affordable housing helps families achieve the independence they need to build brighter futures for themselves and their children. By giving them a hand up – not a handout – families can overcome the obstacles that stand between them and healthier, more financially stable lives.
With your continued support today, we will be able to continue our ambitious plan and help even more families access safe, healthy, and affordable homes. Here’s how:
• Actively process 200+ homeownership and home repair applications to help families access the housing they need.
• Create 30 new homeownership opportunities in the next 18 months in Alhambra, Altadena, Azusa, Baldwin Park, El Monte, Monterey Park, and Pasadena.
• Continue and expand our critical home repair program to ensure that low-income homeowners, including many seniors and Veterans, have a safe and healthy home.
• We’ve opened a new ReStore in Duarte. The store sells new and used quality furniture, appliances, home décor, and building supplies. 100% of the store’s revenue will help build and repair homes right here in the San Gabriel Valley region.
Building better homes and brighter futures starts with you!
Because of your past financial support and the tireless efforts of our dedicated volunteers, more than 200 families in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond have found strength, stability and independence by partnering with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity. With a generous gift today, you can help us continue to build more homes and change more lives!
Your support will give more local families—like Carlos and Diana’s—a safe roof over their head and a solid foundation under their feet…something every family needs to succeed. Please give what you can this summer towards building better homes and brighter futures right here in Northeast Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley – every dollar makes a difference!
Mark Van Lue, Executive Director